MUTED premieres at Oranjewoud Festival


Premiere: 8 & 9 June 2018 at 20.00 & 22.00, Oranjewoud Festival, Museum Belvedere. Try-out performances on 7 June at 20.00 & 22.00.

MUTED: A collective work by 4 composers for violin, voice, whisperviolin, frame violins, a multitude of mutes, and light design

Stage design & lighting: Floriaan Ganzevoort

Text: excerpts from Archy and Mehitabel by Don Marquis

What’s in a decibel? - read the backstory about MUTED 


pictured here: the frame violin, also known as a mute violin, ca. 1870. It has a beautiful, intimate, overtone-rich sound. Surprisingly little is known about these striking instruments. One resource is the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota, whose collection houses what could be this frame violin's sister...

In the press:
Watch live TV broadcast of Podium Witteman here -the segment about MUTED starts at 6'55" (in Dutch). Music: 19'30"

Excerpt by Louis Andriessen here

De Volkskrant (NL) 
Excerpts translated from DutchRead complete article here (Dutch). -by Persis Bekkering, 6 June 2018
Violinist Monica Germino can play again, despite hearing problems, thanks to quiet pieces written especially for her                  

"The American-Dutch violinist Monica Germino, known for her electronically amplified performances of music by contemporary composers, is given the worst conceivable news three years ago: she has to stop making music or take drastic measures to protect her hearing." ...READ MORE

NRC Handelsblad (NL)
Excerpts translated from Dutch
Red Sofa celebrates 10 years, opens festival with Monica Germino’s quiet violin 
Adventurous violinist Monica Germino enthusiastic about Red Sofa's new music program in Rotterdam's De Doelen                       
Read complete article here (in Dutch). -by Joep Stapel, 21 March, 2018      

"...As the pop-up artist, Monica Germino will decide what she will actually play in the moment. It will certainly be soft, because a few years ago Germino was diagnosed as 'sensitive to sound,' which means that her ears are more prone to damage [from high decibel levels]. She had to say goodbye to the high-octane soundtracks and louder works for electric violin, giving up many pieces she had often performed.

She is now "more curious than sad," says Germino. Playing quietly opens up a whole new dimension; and apart from a reflection on silence and listening it can also be "an antidote to the relentless noise of our world." She has amassed a huge collection of mutes (sourdines) and plays a rare 'frame violin' from ca. 1870, an instrument without a sound box which therefore plays at a very low volume. Germino: "Neil [Wallace] wants me to play the frame violin in the Main Hall without any amplification; for me that's a thrill, an adventure." Wallace: "You will hear a pin drop.”

Spring Loaded Festival: 10 years of Red Sofa. De Doelen Rotterdam.

The mutes in MUTED 
Central to Monica Germino’s work is her unusual family of instruments, as well as her ever-expanding collection of mutes. Germino’s ongoing search has resulted in over 400 vintage, modern, and newly commissioned mutes. A mute (a.k.a. sourdine, sordino, demper) can alter the sound of the violin in countless ways. From Canada to Spain, mute-makers are experimenting with new designs and all kinds of materials – leather, metal, cork, magnets, plexiglass, bone, rubber, paper, textiles, the list goes on. Special thanks to Stam Vioolbouw for their marvelous donation to the collection.

The instruments

  • A (muted) J. B. Ceruti violin from Cremona (1802) on permanent loan from the Elise Mathilde Foundation
  • Two rare frame violins, also known as mute violins, with a delicate, surprisingly overtone-rich sound (ca. 1870 and 1970)
  • A custom-made Violectra electric violin (2007)
  • The new whisperviolin (2018), by Bas Maas and Marcel Wanders
  • A ‘whisperbow,’ made of carbon fibre, produces a wispy, delicate sound

Cast of credits, MUTED:

The Doelen, Rotterdam (Neil Wallace, Executive Producer)
Oranjewoud Festival, Oranjewoud
New York Philharmonic Orchestra, New York
Music on Main, Vancouver
Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

Partners and presenters
Wonderfeel Festival
Korzo, Den Haag
Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam
November Music, Den Bosch

With thanks to
Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe, David Lang, Louis Andriessen
MassMoCA, Massachusetts, USA
Kenny Savelson, Bang on a Can All-Stars
Phillipa Thompson, Bang on a Can Summer Festival
Vera Kuiper, Dutch Consulate, New York
Neil Wallace, Programme Director, de Doelen
Bas Maas, luthier
Marcel Wanders, designer
Niek Versfeld and Jaap Peter Kronemeijer, Audiologisch Centrum Hilversum
Stijn Hoogeboom, Oorwerk, Hilversum
Jacqueline & Serge Stam, Stam Vioolbouw
Fonds Podiumkunsten / Performing Arts Fund NL

photo Anne Reinke